Working for Smart Growth:
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New Jersey Moves to Final Round in National Disaster Resiliency Competition

June 29th, 2015 by Megan Callus

Sandy-related flooding in Little Ferry. Photo credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced New Jersey as one of 40 finalists of Phase I of the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) and invited the state to move forward to the second and final phase of the competition.

In its initial application, submitted in March, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection focused on creating replicable pilot projects that address the flooding risks in estuarine communities. The layered flood risk reduction measures proposed ranged from home elevation to preservation and restoration of wetlands to buyouts of homes in flood-prone areas. In Phase 2 of the competition, the state will propose specific pilot projects and articulate their design and means of implementation. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the Phase 2 draft application, which needs to be submitted by Oct. 27, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

New Study Shines a Light on Mixed-Income Housing Around New Jersey’s Transit Stations

June 22nd, 2015 by Tim Evans

Housing near a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of NJTPA.

Housing near a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of NJTPA.

Can towns use housing development to improve or strengthen the areas around their train stations? The short answer is yes, but the type of housing will vary town by town, depending on the current mix of housing available. The housing mix becomes especially important as New Jersey municipalities prepare to submit their affordable housing plans for approval by the courts.

To help towns with train stations better understand their current mix of housing and to give guidance for future development decisions, New Jersey Future is releasing its latest report, OFF TRACK? An Assessment of Mixed-Income Housing around New Jersey’s Transit Stations. The report assesses the degree to which the distribution of household income within each transit station’s immediate neighborhood matches up with, or departs from, the distribution of household income in the larger region in which the station is located. By understanding this divergence, towns will be better able to make decisions about the types of housing they should be zoning for and encouraging. Read the rest of this entry »

New Report Highlights National Trend: Corporations Are Investing Downtown

June 18th, 2015 by Elaine Clisham

Rendering of the new Panasonic North America headquarters in downtown Newark.

Rendering of the new Panasonic North America headquarters in downtown Newark. Panasonic is one of the corporations profiled in the new report.

A new report from Smart Growth America highlights the many advantages corporations across the country seek when they make a decision to relocate to or expand in a downtown. The report, Core Values: Why American Companies Are Moving Downtown, was prepared by the organization in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield and the George Washington University School of Business’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis.

Among the executives interviewed for the report was Jim Reilly, vice president of corporate communications at Panasonic North America, which in 2012 chose to build its new headquarters in downtown Newark. That year, New Jersey Future honored Panasonic North America’s chairman, Joseph Taylor, with its Cary Edwards Leadership Award. Read the rest of this entry »

Millennials, ‘Alternative’ Economy Shape Downtown Redevelopment Trends

June 15th, 2015 by Lauren Bolline

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

Downtown New Jersey’s annual conference on June 11 had a strong focus on the development of small to medium-size downtowns, particularly through the help of Special and Business Improvement Districts (SIDs and BIDs). The conference was appropriately held in downtown Rahway, which provides a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges in redeveloping downtowns.

Kennedy Smith, president of Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group, who gave the keynote presentation, highlighted the strength of these smaller markets when she pointed out that national retailers are starting to move back to them. “National retailers are not risk takers,” she said. “They are market followers, not leaders.” Read the rest of this entry »

NJ Transit Fare Increase: An Unfair Approach to Transportation Funding

May 15th, 2015 by New Jersey Future staff

Informational meeting scheduled for May 16; public hearings begin May 18

A NJ Transit dual-mode locomotive. Source: flickr user PhillipC

A NJ Transit dual-mode locomotive. Source: flickr user PhillipC

To help close an $80 million budget gap, NJ Transit has proposed to increase its fares an average of 9 percent, effective Oct. 1, 2015. This would be the first fare increase in five years; the last fare increase averaged 22 percent. As part of this proposal, some bus and train service would also be reduced. Meanwhile, the state’s gas taxes, already among the lowest in the nation, have not been raised since 1988.

As an organization dedicated to ensuring that New Jersey’s growth is directed toward places with existing infrastructure, including transit, and away from the state’s precious open space, New Jersey Future is deeply concerned about the lopsided nature of these cost burdens. Read the rest of this entry »

The Public Wins a Strengthened Role in Rebuild By Design Projects

May 13th, 2015 by Megan Callus

Photo: Rebuild By Design

Photo: Rebuild By Design

Thanks to a major new provision, the planning process for the Rebuild By Design (RBD) projects in the Meadowlands and along the Hudson River now allows for greater community participation. The provisions are spelled out in a document known as Action Plan Amendment 12, which was prepared by the state, and approved by HUD, in order to make HUD Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds available for the RBD initiative. The funds will be used for the Resist Delay Store and Discharge proposal for Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City and the New Meadowlands pilot proposal in Moonachie, Little Ferry, Teterboro, Carlstadt and South Hackensack. (See original story.) Read the rest of this entry »

Incorporating Green Infrastructure: The Time Is Now

May 13th, 2015 by New Jersey Future staff

Green infrastructure
is a major part of New Jersey Future’s Urban Water Infrastructure initiative. Since we couldn’t attend the session at the American Planning Association’s 2015 conference on Green Infrastructure Zoning, and since AJ Fawver AICP, the planning and development administrator for the city of San Angelo, Texas, was doing such an excellent job livetweeting it, we asked her to expand her tweets into an article.

A rain garden in Jersey City.

A rain garden in Jersey City.

The idea of green infrastructure as a tool for stormwater management is catching on around the country. The 2015 American Planning Association conference featured a session on Green Infrastructure Zoning, focused on raising awareness of the impact local regulations have on the facilitation of green infrastructure. The presentations — by Juli Beth Hinds AICP, principal at Birchline Planning in San Diego, and Tracy Tackett PE, the green stormwater infrastructure program manager for Seattle Public Utilities — included innovative strategies for promoting this sustainable approach and overcoming barriers to its implementation. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future Welcomes New Trustees

May 5th, 2015 by Elaine Clisham

New Jersey Future is pleased to welcome three new faces to its Board of Trustees. They join a team of 30 individuals committed to advancing smart growth in the Garden State. Click here to learn more about all of our esteemed board members.

IaculloRobert Iacullo, executive vice president of United Water, has overall responsibility for supporting the regulated and environmental services business lines for the firm’s water and wastewater businesses across the nation. He previously served as chief operating officer of United Water, chief operating officer of the regulated segment, president of the New York/New Jersey Metro Region, vice president of United Waterworks and vice president of regulatory business. Before joining United Water, Iacullo was a rate analyst with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Iacullo is a commissioner of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Water Alliance, the New Jersey Utilities Association and the National Association of Water Companies, of which he was also previously president. He serves on the boards of the Bergen County United Way, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and Choose New Jersey. He is a trustee of Montclair State University and a member of the university’s School of Business Advisory Board.

kolluri smallLopa Kolluri, vice president for operations at Pennrose, provides strategic direction and day-to day administration of the development company. Prior to joining Pennrose, Lopa served as deputy chief of staff to then-Secretary Donovan at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she was responsible for managing and coordinating HUD’s programs and policies in conjunction with the agency’s budgeting, legislative and external affairs divisions. She worked closely with the White House and executives of other agencies and private organizations to advance HUD’s mission and the Obama administration’s policy goals. Also while at HUD, Lopa was active in the federal taskforce for Hurricane Sandy and led efforts to establish its operation in New Jersey. Prior to her tenure at HUD, Lopa served as the assistant state treasurer for economic development for the State of New Jersey. Lopa also served as director of housing and community resources for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Prior to working at the DCA, Lopa was policy director at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Lopa began her career in the affordable housing industry as a program officer at the Fannie Mae Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Myers2Vince Myers, principal of DIGroup Architecture, is responsible for ensuring that the firm has the expertise and resources to serve its senior-living clients in multiple states. A significant part of that effort entails research and keeping abreast of new ideas in order to be a knowledgeable advisor on behalf of clients and an advocate for person-centered care and culture change. Vince is a featured speaker on all aspects of elder care. He also mentors high school students through the ACE, a national program focusing on architecture, construction and engineering. Additionally, he serves on the boards of the Mary Owen Borden Foundation, NJ PERC and NJ ACE and is an active member of Leading Age NJ; NYAHSA, and the Springpoint Foundation.

College Papers on Key New Jersey Policy Issues Win Statewide Academic Award

May 4th, 2015 by Elaine Clisham

Affordable housing, communicating natural-disaster risk both central to New Jersey Future’s work

An undergraduate term paper examining Trenton’s approach to affordable housing in the 1960s and 1970s, and a senior thesis examining how ignoring risks after the 1962 nor’easter that struck New Jersey led to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, have been honored with the 2014 Stellhorn Award. The award, named after a New Jersey historian, is presented annually to an undergraduate paper and thesis on any topic of New Jersey history.

Both papers address topics that are central to New Jersey Future’s current work. Most recently, the organization was part of an amici curiae brief in the successful lawsuit to resolve the impasse over the state’s affordable-housing regulations; and a key issue in the organization’s post-Sandy recovery planning work has been how to communicate future risk in such a way that communities agree to take appropriate mitigation or adaptation actions. Read the rest of this entry »

Planning Our Coastal Future: Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton

April 28th, 2015 by David Kutner

Projected inundation in Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor in 2050.

Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton: Projected inundation from sea-level rise and a Sandy-intensity storm in 2050. (Click on image for larger view)

At the first of a series of three public meetings, residents of Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton Borough got an initial look at the results of an assessment of each community’s vulnerability to future flooding due to sea-level rise and potential storms. New Jersey Future prepared the assessments for the two communities.

New Jersey Future has been working with Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton since Hurricane Sandy on storm and flood resiliency initiatives, helping community leaders understand future flooding risks they are likely to face. The detailed risk analysis evaluated where the towns are most vulnerable to flooding, and explored strategies to help them respond more effectively to future storms and rising sea levels. Read the rest of this entry »

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